CLUMEQ to play key role in new national high-performance computing network


The Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) have announced that seven Canadian university consortia, including CLUMEQ (Consortium Laval-Université du Québec-McGill and Eastern Quebec), will share $88 million in funding to create the first ever pan-Canadian network of high-performance computing (HPC) facilities.

The project will allow CLUMEQ to acquire two new supercomputers, with thousands of processors, to replace existing equipment, in use since 2002. The new equipment will be located both in Montreal and at the Université Laval campus in Quebec City and will be used to conduct complementary and compatible research accessible throughout the Réseau d'informations scientifiques du Québec (RISQ).

As a result, CLUMEQ will play a key role in the future of the high-performance computing sector by conducting increasingly innovative research in disciplines such as particle physics, climate modelling, astrophysics, bioinformatics, genomics, aeronautics and engineering, social sciences and the arts.

"This is a significant development for McGill, its partner institutions, and for the capacity of Quebec universities to achieve research innovations on a global scale," said Heather Munroe-Blum, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill. "The teaching and research that CLUMEQ provides is an excellent example of inter-institutional collaboration that will help to ensure Quebec is at the forefront in the global knowledge economy."

Raymond Leblanc, Vice-Rector of Research at Université Laval, said: "The development of HPC is a key component of our strategic plan for research at Université Laval. The national network presents a unique opportunity for Quebec universities to assume a leadership role at the national level."

"I am delighted with this major investment, which is essential to the research conducted by UQAM and Université du Québec as well as by the Consortium on Regional Climatology and Adaptation to Climate Change on weather prediction in an era of global changes that will have a profound effect on Quebec," added Michel Jébrak, Vice-President, Research and Art Creation, at UQAM.

"CFI's exceptional vision has brought together some 56 institutions around the same table to give Canadian researchers unprecedented access to high-powered supercomputers," said Professor Wagdi Habashi, director of CLUMEQ and the NSERC-Bombardier Chair of Multidisciplinary Computational Fluid Dynamics at McGill. "The infrastructure will allow greater innovation in research, increase our knowledge in several disciplines and assure Canada's competitiveness in a climate of globalization and outsourcing."

The national high-performance computing network will ultimately benefit more than 6,000 investigators doing intensive computationally based research at more than 60 institutions across the country, according to the CFI.

"This represents a major leap forward for Canada's HPC community," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. "This is truly a national effort, with all seven HPC consortia across the country collaborating as full partners in this project. This investment will provide researchers with the tools to solve large-scale computational problems that we could not even have imagined tackling 10 years ago."

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